There’s so much going on around us these days, it seems pretty easy to fall into the trap of existing somewhere within and between where I’ve been and where I’m going, with seemingly very limited opportunity to just be – or even not knowing how (to just be) when the opportunity presents. So, when I roll out my mat for practice, I’m more excited than ever for what’s about to transpire. If I’m not conscientious about it though, the time on the mat can just turn into yet another aspect of the coming and going. The opening prayer helps me stop that from happening. It’s a moment of devotion, in a way that’s special and sacred, to place my mind within my body, grab my breath, plug into the source, and begin to move with purpose.
vande gurūnām caranāravinde sandarśita
svātma sukhāvabodhe |
nihśreyase jāngalikāyamāne samsāra
hālāhala mohaśantyai ||
ābāhu purusākāram śankacakrāsi dhārinam |
sahasra śirasam śvetam pranamāmi patañjalim ||
I bow to the lotus feet of the Gurus
The awakening happiness of one’s own self revealed,
Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician,
Pacifying delusion, the poison of Samsara.
Taking the form of a man to the shoulders,
Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword,
One thousand heads white,
To Patanjali, I salute.
To me, it’s about courage – courage to humble one’s self for the sake of gaining knowledge – to show faith through humility. And it’s about reverence – a loving show of respect and admiration for those who have come before us and offered teachings to remove deep rooted ignorance (avidya – that which prevents us from experiencing yoga) from our lives.